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arguments-evaluating - EVALUA TING ARGUMENTS Look closely...

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EVALUATING ARGUMENTS Look closely at the pictures above. Among the things you could notice about these pictures is that there seems to be an INTENSITY OF FEELING being displayed. We can imagine that the people who are shouting probably have an absolute certainty that they are “right.” So for them, the argument is a matter of making their voice the loudest. It’s a shouting match. These people are trying to muscle their point across (“might makes right”). We understand that though this can be effective, the outcome is imperfect at best. It may be possible to victimize someone into agreeing with you, but it’s a pyrrhic victory at best— which is the same as saying it’s really a defeat. So what do you do with your intense feelings and your conviction that you’re right? Should you try to be as unemotional as possible, or can you channel those feelings productively in an argument? That you are willing to argue about a subject, that your goal is to be persuasive about this subject, implies already that you have some level of emotion, sometimes even intense feelings, about the subject—that you have conviction, that you care , and that you can rise, if necessary, to a certain level of intensity in your writing. This passion (or your lack of it) is communicated to your readers by the tone of your argument, the tone of your words. So it’s important not to go overboard and it’s important not to disappear entirely. These characters in theses pictures have gone overboard; they’re way past the point of no return; they’re yelling at each other. What are the odds that we succeed in persuading an opponent when an argument gets to this point? Will the ump change his mind? Will the girl change hers? Is the soldier likely to listen to the men who are pointing at him threateningly?
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Let’s face it, when people’s beliefs clash, the results are often disastrous.
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